How to plant has always been a frequently asked question at the garden center. What do I do if my plant is in a pot…How do I plant a burlap tree? Does the basket stay on or do I take it off? These are all questions we will cover in this Planting Guide.

Regardless of whether your plant is in a pot or balled and burlap, big or small the first step is to dig a hole 2-3 times the width of the root ball. Your hole should be no deeper than the root ball is in height. This is very important. If any plant is planted too deeply it may lead to failure. If your plant is in a container remove the pot and score the roots with a sharp knife or scratch the roots with a 3 or 4 pronged hand cultivator. Now add Van Wilgen’s Premium Planting mix to your existing soil from the hole. Place your plant in the hole making sure the top of the root ball is either at ground level or just slightly higher. This step will ensure the plant isn’t too deep or over-mulched. Now it is time to apply either apply Van Wilgen’s Jumpstart or Organic Root Boost directly to the root system of the plant. The next step is to backfill the hole with your mixture of Van Wilgen’s Planting Mix and existing soil. Lightly tamp the soil to remove any air pockets. If you are planting a balled-in burlap tree or shrub follow the same steps as mentioned above. Instead of removing the container take off all burlap and the wire basket. This will ensure your plant doesn’t develop girdled roots.

Once your plant is backfilled you can apply a 2-3” layer of mulch to the base of your new planting. Be sure to keep the mulch at least 3’’ away from the stem of any plant. Mulching will not only give your planting a beautiful finished look but it will help retain moisture for the root system.

The last step is to thoroughly water in the plant. Typically, infrequent deep-watering is better for root development than short infrequent watering. Please ask a Van Wilgen Team Member for a Van Wilgen Watering Guide for more detailed directions on watering.

JASON SCIRE, Nursery Manager